The almighty dollar won out as the San Diego St. Aztecs is heading to the Big East as football-only members and that leaves other sports taking a step back. San Diego State is heading to the Big West where they will be in a one-bid league for the foreseeable future in basketball unless they have a Gonzaga-like streak of NCAA tournament runs to earn some respect for playing in the Big West.
However, head coach Steve Fisher sees the move as a positive:
"The one real big positive is that it would get us on the ESPN family of networks, and that will help our program and be a huge sell for us,'' said Fisher. The Mountain West Conference doesn't have a contract with ESPN. MWC teams can appear on an ESPN network only in a tournament that ESPN televises or in a nonconference road game against a school in a league that has a deal with ESPN.
"I believe that this will make it easier for us to schedule teams from the Midwest or the East,'' Fisher said. "It will greatly enhance our ability to recruit. And that's the lifeblood of any program. If I were to approach Illinois or Louisville and say you'll be on national television, that will resonate more than [saying] you'll be on local cable. I think we've got a lot going for us that we've created over a period of time. We are in a good position right now.
"Change should not be feared, but change should be an exciting time for us,'' Fisher said.
The basketball side of the Mountain West television deal is not great because there are no games in HD on the Mtn. until the conference tournament and there are not many non-conference games on any of the networks. However, the Big West television deal is not great because they are rarely on ESPN, but to Fisher being on ESPN is a big deal.
My opinion is that recruiting will suffer because all of the schools in the Big West are glorified high school gyms outside of Hawaii and San Diego State; plus there is a drop in competition compared to the Mountain West. For San Diego State to be relevant they will need to schedule stronger out of conference games to build up their RPI, and I have heard that the Big East may schedule four games with San Diego State each year as part of joining the league for football. If there is an agreement to play Big East schools that will definitely be a boon to San Diego State basketball.